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Q. I’m looking for a lightweight cardigan sweater that can be worn over long sleeves now and over tanks when the weather warms up. I’m looking for quality knitwear, the last cardigan sweater I owned fell apart after a season of wear. Basically I would love it to be grey (my current alternative to black) lightweight, machine washable (I have clothes that sit in a bag for months waiting for the trip to the dry cleaner) and if at all possible no more than $100, but I would pay a little more if it is well made (maybe, possibly made Stateside to support local economy). I’ve looked high and low and need some expertise on where can I find such an item.

A. You got it! Below are some gray cardigans (mostly under $100) that can be worn now and when the weather warms up. We only selected cardigans that can be machine or hand washed (no “dry clean only” options). Thin sweaters, which are your best option, tend to be more delicate, so be sure to hand wash them or use the delicate cycle on your machine; dry them flat to retain the shape - this should prevent them from falling apart after one season of wear.

Q. I bought this “Susanna” skirt pictured below from Delia’s for spring, and I’m not quite sure what to wear with it. It’s a bit high-waisted, which I’m not used to. I’m very petite (5’3, 100 lbs) so i was trying to find something that would add some curves. The website shows girls wearing it with hoodies but I think that looks a little ridiculous (plus I’m 28 - looking for more of a pulled together, fashiony look). Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

A. Great find! Short, full skirts are a big trend this season and there are many ways to wear them that don’t look too young. Here are 3 ideas for you:

  1. Wear a simple fitted shirt over the waist band and then add a belt at the waist if you want to dress it up further, skip the belt if you prefer a relaxed casual look.
  2. Tuck in a pretty blouse. You can also add a belt at the waistband here if you like.
  3. Pair a belted jacket (great for adding curves) or little cardigan over a tank top or tee shirt.

Q. I recently purchased this vintage-inspired dress for a black tie wedding. I’m looking to accessorize it with shoes and a bag. I want a vintage-inspired look without looking like I’m attending a theme party. Can you help me out? P.S. I’ll be wearing the dress without the straps.

A. What a gorgeous little black dress - and such a great price! Though it is vintage-inspired, you can wear it so many different ways, including modern, it’s a great addition to your wardrobe that you’ll likely wear for years to come.

Below are some shoe and bag suggestions with the vintage feel that you’re looking for. For jewelry, you might want to consider strands of pearls or a chunky large-bead short necklace. A brooch is also an option that you can wear at your hip or above your heart. 

Q. I recently bought a white twill blazer from Old Navy and would like some casual ideas on what to pair it with. I live in Florida and don’t have to wait til it warms up to start wearing it. Seems like it should be a no brainer and would work with just about everything but you always offer great ideas that I would never think of!

A. A white blazer is a great wardrobe addition this season, and yours from Old Navy is not only versatile, but affordable too! I applaud your decision to start wearing your blazer now - that old rule about not wearing white before Memorial Day is so outdated. To wear your white blazer casually, think of it almost as a replacement for a jean jacket, wearing it with day dresses, cargo pants, jeans, skirts, etc. Here are a few outfit ideas for you:

1. pair your blazer over a casual dress and wear with wedge sandals
2. wear casually over cargo pants and a ribbed tank, worn with flat sandals
3. layer over a printed blouse (it’s ok if the jacket is shorter than the blouse) worn with skinny jeans and heels
4. wear with a tee shirt, lightweight scarf, boyfriend jeans and ballet flats

(click on the above items for purchasing information)

Q. I recently bought this white strapless dress online not realizing it is a terry dress (shopping online can be deceiving) and nowhere did it say it was a terry dress. I was going to send it back but I actually think it has potential and it can look cute with the right shoes and accessories. I live in Houston and the weather here is warm during the summer so I don’t necessarily have to wear this dress to the beach only. Can you give me some ideas on how to make this dress look nice without looking like I have a towel wrapped around myself, how do I accessorize? Help….  

A. You’re right, you don’t have to limit wearing this dress to the beach, however, no matter how much you try to dress it up, it will always be a casual dress. This means it’s not appropriate for the office or conservative affairs, however, it’s perfect for a day of shopping or meeting some friends for lunch. Start by adding some color to the white dress in the form of a pretty necklace. A casual but un-beachy tote and leather sandals (no rubber flip flops here), also with a dash of color, will help add some “street” to your beachy dress. Now you’re ready to hit the town in a cute, casual warm weather look.

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